People power key to free and compulsory education

Published: March 13, 2012

ENROLLMENT: 20 per cent children at primary level are still out of school, according to a report by ASER.

ISLAMABAD: 

People should show social responsibility and press politicians, policymakers and educators to ensure provision of free and compulsory education to children under Article 25-A of the Constitution.

This view was expressed at a panel discussion on the ‘Right to Education and Social Accountability’, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.

Centre for Civic Education Executive Director Zafarullah Khan said that laws pertaining to compulsory education exist in almost all the provinces, but the missing aspect is their enforcement. “There is much to be done to enforce existing laws in addition to enacting fresh legislation at the  provincial level for the implementation of Article 25-A,” he said.

Khan added that education should be treated as a social responsibility by all citizens, irrespective of their position in society. “A timeframe should be given to create legislation that enforces the constitutional right to free and compulsory education for children up to age 15,” he said.

Khan was of the view that the community and civil society must play active roles and hold the responsible people accountable if they fail to ensure provision of quality education. “There should be an education emergency to achieve the targets,” he said.

Moreover, Khan pointed out that 82 per cent of the development budget is wasted every year due to injudicious use of the available funds.

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Research Associate Rafeel Wasif described the “sorry state of affairs across the country” as far as enrolment at primary level is concerned. He said that 20 per cent of children at primary level are still out of school.

Quoting the ASSER survey, he said 25 per cent of children are out of schools in Fata and the situation in other rural parts of the country is not much better.

Fayyaz Ahmed of SDPI said that every school head should be held responsible for budgeting spending and also on the quality of education provided by that school.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.

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